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Billericay spared from 2,000 new homes plan
BILLERICAY looks to have been spared from an influx of 2,000 homes.
Basildon Council had earmarked three sites in the east and west of the town for 2,010 new houses if the area was able to cope, in its draft Local Plan.
Last month the Echo revealed the council was looking to remove 1,400 homes proposed for the western site, from the housing plan, after Essex County Council admitted it had serious concerns that roads would not cope.
Now, County Hall is also claiming the eastern side, earmarked for 610 homes, would also struggle without significant infrastructure investment. It said the cash required is not available.
Basildon housing bosses have said they wanted to spread homes out across the borough, but could only support certain developments if they received assurances during the consultation phase that infrastructure would support the proposals.
They now want to remove east Billericay too from the local plan.
However, although County Hall raised the same concerns about traffic capacity issues in Wickford, Basildon Council is still set to plough ahead with 2,800 new homes there.
John Baron, Conservative MP for Basildon and Billericay, said: “I am not a nimby and I have always maintained any development must be preceded by a robust infrastructure assessment which is fully-funded.
“If the report of a lack of investment in our roads is true, then we cannot support any new housing anywhere in Billericay.
“It would be unfair on residents if we started building homes without the relevant infrastructure in place, otherwise we’d end up with roads full to capacity and oversubscribed doctors.
“It is one thing doing an assessment, but another actually having the money.”
Housing bosses at the council still claim their original figure of 12,500 homes in the borough, to be built between now and 2031 is valid, but concerns have been raised about where the properties originally earmarked for Billericay could go.
The Tory administration’s deputy leader Phil Turner has previously told the Echo Basildon Council could submit a revised number to the Government, which has the final say on the local plan.
Essex County Council highlighted roads that could be hit hard by the homes – the A176 Nethermayne, the A127, Sun Street and High Street Billericay, and the A132 Nevendon Road leading into Billericay.
Andrew Schrader, Tory councillor for Billericay East, said: “The evidence is clear. Billericay cannot accommodate these developments.”
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